tv Washington Journal 10162017 CSPAN October 16, 2017 1:16pm-1:47pm EDT
we'll take a look at some of today's posh "washington -- today's "washington journal." >> the topic is lobbing spending -- lobbying spending during the trump presidency. you write that there has been no major legislation on both sides of the house. lobbying spending has spiked. the record -- the record shows congress has been unusually busy being lobbied by groups and businesses. tell us more. frustration that they are getting nothing accomplished.
frustration they are getting nothing accomplished. money being spent is on the increased -- is on the increase. expectation, whenever you have a president and a congress in the same party at -- at the beginning of a new presidential term, or is this expectation things would get done. 2017,rst six months of they are approaching the level, record levels, we saw at the beginning of the obama administration. president obama had a solidly democratic congress. these industries are spending a lot of money. agendasnd advance their . you're not seeing major deflation out of this congress. legislation out of this congress. host: you write the companies
are on track to spend the most in lobbying since 2009. these numbers come from the center for responsible politics. industry, pharmaceuticals $144ealth insurers, million. electronics, 68 million. oil and gas, 64.3 million. if you look at the top 10 list of spending by industry, it is striking how many of them are involved in health care. he health-care debate was the -- the health-care debate was the first focus of congress in the first few months of this year. you see hospitals and nursing homes, health professionals.
health care has always for the last several years been toward the very top of lobbying expenditures. you have this relentless focus on health care over the years, that is what is bringing out some of that spending. hed the opiod story in te post," some of that reporting was informed by some of these numbers. these are publicly disclosed. there are disclosure laws as far as what these firms have to disclose as far as what they are spending and what they are spending it on. if you are willing to dig it up, the information is there. host: let us invite the viewers. we believe the phone minds on the bottom of the screen and get your calls as soon as the -- we
believe -- we will leave the phone lines on the bottom of your screen and get the phone lines as soon as they come in. tony messina is a senior writer for "the weekly standard." here are some of the folks. commerce, $40f million. pharmaceutical research and manufacturers of america, $14 million. several more hospital and medical health care type of facilities. list. and dow are on the tell us more. guest: ucb chamber of commerce at the top of the list. -- ucb chamber of commerce -- you see the chamber of commerce at the top of the list. but there are all sorts of bread and butter regulatory issues.
it is not surprising you have so many big companies wanting to establish a major presence in washington. not on the table, you're on -- at the table, you were on the menu. thingnot just a one-time oh my gosh, there is this bill coming before congress , we need a presence here. changed?s lobbing remind us what it actually is? guest: you see smoke-filled rooms in the movies. a lot of what they do is more ordinary.
there are a number of law firms, botique companies that are tracking legislation and reporting back to their members and trying to get the most up-to-date information they can relay. also also -- they are members and meeting with lawmakers and informing that debate. we have a perception it is all about. it is more complicated than that. arealways hear, lobbyists making it so we can't get things done. systems a place in our for helping lawmakers understand the things they are legislating. the lobbyists writing legislation that benefits them, but there is a role for people affected by
legislation to have a voice. host: augustus is up first from shreveport, louisiana. democrat. caller: what is the difference between lobbying and bribing? legbal. bbying is -- is legal. bribery, not so much. there is a role to be played for industries that are affected by legislation to have a voice. one of the things that president trump ran on was this idea of, we need to drain the swamp. there are various elements of that. contributions, a regulatory state that hasn't been expert -- that exercises a lot of influence. is illegal.t
augustine's -- augustus? swamp up. steered the calling.nk you for write that almost every business is involved now. consider the cost of doing business? guest: you will see industries newly emerging maybe not understand the value of that. you think a lot about the technology of things. google and facebook. they didn't really have that much of a washington presence five years ago. and then there was talk in washington about regulating these companies, and then they beef up their lobbying presence.
alphabet, the parent company of google. they have seen the value for themselves in having that presence. host: joe in auburn, alabama. republican. hello. there is no legislation being pushed. -- would you say they have a lot to do with that? there was opposition to the republican health care plan that was put forward earlier in the year. .arious versions of that that probably played a role. republicans have a slim majority in the senate with not a lot of
room for error. if you can peel off two or three of them in the senate, you can kill a lot of things. some of it is the lobbying, some some is a lack of support, of it is resistance to the president. makee no doubt lobbyists your voices heard. host: dana on twitter writes, not surprised lobbying is way up bi -- way up. big changes are happening. taxes are up and the leadership in congress is looking toward a tax reform bill. do you expect to see a spike in lobbying? tax reform is going to bring out a lot of lobbying for different issues. more so than health care, which
directly affects the health care industry's insurance. tax reform affects every single business and individual. this republican plan that came out is getting a hearing on capitol hill. you are seeing a bunch of different organizations way in -- weigh in on it. groups that are from california, new york, new jersey, that are opposed. you have realtors who don't like the proposed increase in the standard induction because they worry it would chip away at the mortgage reduction, affecting buying a house. technology companies are concerned about this money. how do you repatriate the money
that's an illustration of how if we're worried about lobbyists, are those lobbyists or people representing vital interests of charitable organizations? i think it's a little more complicated than just a black and white issue. host: pennsylvania, good morning. i have part of the answer to what we do if we are offended by lobbyists and congress people going over the line and closely ng too together in the interest of in some interest or another, i would say you hold both of them accountable. and if i were closely together in the living in tennessee or pennsylvania, i would be calling their office this morning and asking them to explain how in the world they didn't exercise more judgment in the law making concerning the opioid -- the d.e.a. as i understand it from 60 minutes. so please hold your congress people accountable and get mad.
do something. host: tony. guest: i think that's a good point. at the end of the day, who is responsible for what the elected representatives up here to? i think the voters are. i think if elected representatives are accountable to the voters. if your elected representative is not doing what you want him or her to do, vote them out. there's a lot of outsider sentiment. what you what you have, part one of the reasons president trump was elected was some of the disgust of washington. and you have people that come here and the perception is that they're looking after their own interests, they're looking after the interests of big business and not looking out for the little guy. so let's bring in an outsider. host: twitter, didn't trump say he was going to stop this lobbying, promises made, promises broken? the president say anything
about lobbying during the campaign? if so what was it? guest: i think there the presid weren't a lot of specifics. i think the phrase drain the swamp, he did want lobbying reforms. he has made some minor reforms when he came in, as far as the issue of the revolving door. have people moving weren't a lot of from into ory department industries. so he put out rules saying the appointed positions were not going to -- say you need to not do that for five years. so that's something. as far as big whole industries. so he put out rules saying the appointed positions were not sa the city operates i don't think anybody is viewing that as a major accomplishment. >> host: you don't see anything coming out of congress guest: not right now. they've had a lot of other priorities. not the city operates i don't think anybody is viewing that as to say they won't get t eventually but certainly not on the agenda right now. host: ron in florida. good morning. caller: good morning.
i was just wondering when it comes to the lobbyists, the constitution bill of rights all speak of people's rights. when did the lobbyists have more power to address our public officials than the people? why isn't there a buffer zone the een the lobbyists and congressmen called the people that are looking at this before it goes to congress? because once it gets there, we don't know what happens. and we're the ones that are supposed to be being served. so when a lobbyists wants to see congress shouldn't he have to go through a civilian panel that gets their ideas and their input? not what some poll fission who needs a campaign contribution from a special interest group. you know, we now are embroiled n this health care battle. it is bankrupting the countries. the democrats are saying we
really need this. but where were the democrats when they were signing nafta salaries in ur half? we could have one time afforded health care. now that we have sent most of our jobs overseas, where is that money supposed to come from? so democrats say they care about us. they didn't care too much when they turned america into a rust belt. host: thanks for calling. guest: one of the problems is, i mean, how do you regulate? can you outlaw lobbying? can you tell us law makers you can't meet with lobbyists? i think we want lawmakers listening to as many voices as we can. certainly not to the exclusion of regular people. you certainly don't want -- their only method of getting information. but certainly the caller is right that there is this perception that lobbyists sort of run this town. but certainly -- i think members of congress would tell you that they are very much in touch with their constituents and that they do listen to the people who, at the end of the
day, they need to be responsive to. host: earlier we looked at figures from the center for responsive toll picks. general, who tracks lobbying money? how is it tracked? how can folks like our viewers find out what's going on out there? guest: that's a great question. there are law that is have been passed over the years that require that mandates that lobbying be disclosed. who the lobbyists are, what issues they're lobbying on, how much money they're spending. and those have to be filed every six months. so we have the numbers for the first six months of 2017. january february we'll probably see the numbers from the second half of this year, we'll see how much money everybody is spending on tax reform. some of these priorities. but if individual citizens and c-span viewers want to go out and see that, you mentioned the center for responsive politics does a great job compiling those, categorizing them. and all that is available publicly. e web site is open
secrets.org. if you want to see how much your member of congress is getting from the pharmaceutical companies, or how much they're lobbying on particular issues. you know, there's all sorts of information out there very easily if you want to see how m your member of congress is getting from the pharmaceutical companies, or how much searchab. so any questions that you have as far as who's lobbying on this issue and what industry is interested in this bill, it's all out there. it's all public records. the media is free to report on, that individual citizens are free to look up and draw their own conclusions. host: our guest is the senior writer for the weekly standard. previously tony worked for the charlotte observer in north carolina. he was deputy business area there covering banking, real estate, manufacturing and other issues. has a bamplet in political science from duke and communications from the university of north carolina. chapel hill is our next call. independent caller named joe. good morning. caller: good morning.
host: what would you like to say? caller: i would like to talk a little bit about interesting how we're presenting this as just valuable information. that we have a spike in lobbying and that's real news. but it's interesting, it's all neutral until we get to the point where we say things like, well, congress has been busy. they're listening to lobbyists as if that's valuable busy work that is good for the people. and this whole thing about how erybody needs to give absess they can make good decisions. what about following the money and the power and the distance or value of having they can mak good decisions. what about that money pushing through? i would like some comment on hat.
guest: one view is they haven't done anything and just taking recesses and meeting with lobbyists and doing nothing to advance the people's interest. if you're happy with the status quo there will be people who say they're not making things worse. i do think there's a difference of opinion on the value of lobbying. certainly we don't want our politics to be influenced by groups that don't have the people's agenda at heart. but it can be a complicated thing. because what joe believes and what somebody else believes, you know, are to be vastly different. congress has to sort that out. it's not -- you know, it's not just a matter of saying why is congress not doing what joe wants him to do? host: by twitter. not just a matter of saying why is congress not doing what joe
george from tennessee. good morning. caller: good morning. i heard somebody on the radio and he says that often he says that we have the best government that money can buy. i think most people agree with that. but i didn't think it was legal. i mean, if you've got somebody that goes to congress and have been in congress for 15 years and they went there with 100,000 in their bank account and now their salary and their significant other salary they're worth millions of dollars, it seems to me that should be a little illegal. i mean, there's a lot of greed and corruption going on in congress does have ethics laws, in ar as what they can take
ifts, honorary for speeches, i think it is supremely frustrating to people see people come to washington and they make a living here. they do well for themselves. people ame time that back home, you know, are facing struggles. host: edward calling from minogue, wisconsin? caller: yes, it is. host: go ahead. callers.ne of the last caller: thank you for taking my call, i've called in the past. as a republican, i want to say that i read a book by a -- savage called "trump's war," and it's an excellent it for would recommend everybody in this world to read. multi national corporations, explains all the involved with 's lobbyists and half of the senate republican, i'm
changing my mind about a party. i'm going to be an independent the future and i'm never changed from independents to any other party. you for my call. thank you. host: what is driving your change? change? making you caller: say that again, please. change at is making you status republican to independent? caller: this book "trump's war," explained congress and what is going on in the global political system and how is so corrupt we need a man like donald trump. as an vote for him independent, but not as a member the e democratic or republican party. so if you have further comments, i will take them. host: anything you want to react to there? there. a lot you do see a lot of frustration with what is going on in washington, both parties.
think this is an issue that rowels a lot of people up. not democrat/republican issue tis insider/outsider issue. margaret from gresham, oregon, independent caller. hi, margaret. for taking myanks call. host: you're welcome. caller: you're absolutely right, lobbyists, lace for but who has enough money to use them, except the rich people. guest: yeah. caller: those people are sent to congress to do what the people wanted, they lost that a long time ago, a long time ago and the main s one of reasons. i noticed a smile on your face complain about lobbyists because they'll be here forever. luck to you and the rest people will just keep struggling along. host: final thought? guest: i don't think we're looking down our noses at
what , it is reality of you have in washington and we as journalists have a responsibility to report to the is the information out there. you can see how much is being lobbying and use it to inform your vote. >> we expect to hear from the white house shortly. president trump is getting ready to make remarks from the rose meeting with mitch mcconnell. we will bring you the president's remarks when they happen. until then a little more from today's washington journal. continues. host: once a week we focus on "washington journal" on your money and what that federal money is being spent for. $2 y we're looking at the billion plus spent so far this year on fighting wildfires. the studio is in robert bonnie, a former department
undersecretary for natural resources. this you for joining us morning. explain your role at the agriculture department when you forest re, you oversaw service; correct? guest: yes, undersecretary for agencies t at two under the u.s. forest service and conservation service. ost: what do you make of what you have been seeing out in california recently? uest: it's terribly tragic, we've obviously lost a lot of lives, a lot of homes and resources, as well. but it's part of a larger trend that we've seen over the last bigger fires, , more catastrophic and deadly ires and that is very concerning and it means investments at the federal level are critically important, both firefighting aspect and to do more work, educe threat of catastrophic fire in the first place. host: headline in "u.s.a. today" the nightmare, the worse may be over, perhaps they corner.rned a
it doesn't mean they don't have a lot of work to do and people of struggling, but in terms the money spent, what are the on the federalds government in places like california today? about 20 's look back years, 20 years ago the u.s. forest service, largest agency in the government, federal government, used to spend one-sixth of the on firefighting. this year it will probably spend not more budge oat firefighting, both in preparing for fire and what you in all the major fires you this year. not on private land, national forest land. most expense out there is paid by the state, that doesn't mean there aren't substantial firefighter, aircraft, hot shot teams, you name it out there.
work nothing close partnership the the state, the state is lead on the firefighting side, lead on recovery, but the ederal government and state government, along with local municipal fire departments will of thegether in the wake fire. host: phone number on the bottom of the screen for our guests. robert bonnie, talking about california and other wildfires, money involved on the federal government end. for dealing with and we'll get to your calls. 202-748-8001, republicans. is your , 202-748-8000 number. >> taking you now to the white house. president trump: i want to say we just